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Charlestown Residents Interviewed for Chinese TV Documentary About The Rape of Nanking

August 4, 2014

CATONSVILLE, MD (August 4, 2014) - Charlestown retirement community residents William and Narka Ryan this week were interviewed by a Mandarin Films crew for "Memories of Nanking 1937," a five-part documentary about the Japanese Imperial Army's march into China's capital city of Nanking and its murder of 300,000 out of 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the city. The six weeks of carnage represented the single worst atrocity during the World War II era in either the European or Pacific theaters of war.
William's late aunt, Grace Bauer, served as a missionary in Nanking from 1919 - 1942. She was one of a handful of missionaries who refused to leave and who cared for the Chinese in the so-called "Safety Zone."
William and Narka compiled nearly 1,000 letters written in Nanking by Aunt Grace, a former resident of Irvington in Baltimore City who lived with the Ryans during the last year of her life (1975-1976) in the Woodbridge Valley section of Catonsville. The Ryans and their memories of Aunt Grace will be featured in the documentary.
The documentary will be completed by the end of October this year. It will air in China by December 13, on the 77th Anniversary of the Rape of Nanking, and will be seen by 1.3 billion people. A one-volume, international edition will be distributed through global TV channels in Asia, Europe, and America. Mandarin Films is facilitating and producing the documentary for CCTV and SJTV.
"Aunt Grace was a hero," said William. "She never said anything about her experiences. We learned of it only through her letters."
Aunt Grace was part of an extraordinary group of about 20 Americans and Europeans -- missionaries, doctors and businessmen - who remained in Nanking and established an International Safety Zone. Using Red Cross flags, they courageously and defiantly declared a 2.5- square-mile area in the middle of the city off limits to the Japanese. They risked their lives many times by intervening to prevent the execution of Chinese men or the rape of women and young girls.